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Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman made four starts before the end of the season and was almost pitcher-perfect, going 4-0 with a sparkling 1.67 earned-run average.Patrick Semansky/The Associated Press

Marcus Stroman has been defying the odds his entire lifetime and he is not about to quit now.

The 24-year-old is a pent-up ball of fury, a major-leaguer who proudly wears his emotions on his sleeve.

Stroman's next challenge will come early Friday afternoon when he struts onto centre stage at Rogers Centre to make his first playoff start for the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 2 of their opening-round series against the Texas Rangers.

"This is definitely the biggest start of my career, hands-down, but I'm ready for it, you know what I mean?" the right-handed pitcher said on Wednesday. "This is why you play the game. I'm excited. I can't wait to get out there.

"This is the stuff you dream about, and … all the work that went in this past summer, it was for this moment, so I'm just excited to go out there and put my team in a position to win."

The year has been a whirlwind for the Stroman, beginning with a left-knee injury he suffered during spring training in March. Stroman required surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and he was told to forget about the 2015 season.

Forget that, was Stroman's response, and he threw himself into a vigorous rehabilitation program with the single-minded desire of returning to the Blue Jays lineup toward the end of the season.

He made good on his promise, rejoining the team in mid-September, and his comeback has been nothing short of sensational.

He made four starts before the end of the season and was almost pitcher-perfect, going 4-0 with a sparkling 1.67 earned-run average.

Heading into the playoffs, it was a no-brainer for Toronto manager John Gibbons to slot Stroman in behind David Price as the No. 2 man in the rotation.

Stroman will gladly tell you that fighting against the odds is nothing new to him.

Listed as 5 foot 8, Stroman has been told for as long as he can remember that he was too small to pursue his dream of becoming a big-league pitcher.

And Stroman said he has used that negativity as incentive throughout his life in order to prove everybody wrong, a reason why his emotions are never too far from bubbling over.

But he insists nerves will not be a problem on Friday for his first postseason experience.

"I think I'm going to be all right; I think I'll be good," Stroman said. "I feel like I do a good job of being able to bottle it up and use it kind of when I need to. … I'm very emotional kind of pitcher, wear my heart on my sleeve. That's how I've always been.

"I pitch with a lot of hate and anger and emotion in my heart – it's just something that I've always kind of built myself on. I'm just excited; I can't wait to get out there. I wish I could put it in words."

Stroman was asked what he meant by pitching with hate in his heart.

"Hate, yeah, a lot of anger, a lot goes into it," he said. "I'm 5 foot 8; a lot of people doubt me, so that's with me every single pitch on the mound."